The issue of a subsidy for antigen tests must urgently be revisited
The government must publish a long-term strategy on how it plans to manage the pandemic throughout the year, according to Social Democrats Health Spokesperson Róisín Shortall.
“We are now in the third year, and fourth wave, of covid but no long-term strategy to manage the pandemic has yet been published by the government. This short-termism must stop. We now need to see a coherent plan.
“In the first instance, as the advice on close contacts changes, the government needs to be clear about what that means. We need updated and clear messaging on what the new rules comprise, particularly given the new guidelines come into force in 24 hours.
“Since covid first arrived on our shores, in 2020, multiple variants have arisen but one thing has remained constant – the manner in which the virus is transmitted. Vaccines have greatly assisted in our battle against this disease, but vaccines alone will not win the war. The government must now publish a long-term plan that targets these chains of transmission with science-based mitigation measures.
“To that end, the issue of a subsidy for antigen tests must urgently be revisited and the government should also introduce a subsidy for high-grade FFP2 and FFP3 masks. Legally binding ventilation standards must be introduced for buildings in which people congregate indoors – workplaces and hospitality. Schools, creches and third level institutions, must also be provided with guidelines and financial support to assist in the installation of Hepa filters.
“We have been told we must live with covid since 2020, but if we want to live as normal a life as possible then the State must provide some basic, and strategic, assistance. Covid, no matter what variant the disease manifests as, is an air-borne virus. We must now see a coherent and long-term plan that recognises this central fact and introduces comprehensive and targeted mitigation measures. The alternative is an uncertain future of interminable rolling lockdowns.
12 January, 2022